“… everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing; though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness … and retell it in words … it is lovely …” ~ Galway Kinnell

rabbin flower from within

This excerpt is from PART THREE (Q & A) of Robert Rabbin’s book:The 5 Principles of Authentic Living: How to Live an Authentic Life in 10 Words … which is best summarised in his own words:

“In the following pages, I share with you what I call The 5 Principles of Authentic Living, which represent nearly 50 years of studying my mind and my self from various perspectives and methods. These principles comprise 10 simple words, two words per principle. They are my scripture, the book I use to live an authentic life. Ten words? That’s it? Yes. Ten words. One word every five years. Fifty years: five principles set out in 10 words …

The 5 Principles of Authentic Living are the nuggets I have collected from 50 years of panning and sifting for gold in streams and rivers throughout the world and within myself. I am very happy to share them with you.” ~ from the Preface by Robert Rabbin

This post gives a taste of Robert’s teachings through a sample, direct Q&A. These questions came to him  from people he knew — students, clients, friends, and family — and people he did not know. Throughout the answers, Robert uses the 5 principles to underscore their relevance to the issue at hand – as he states in the introduction for this PART THREE:

“… Use the principles, use the 10 words. My responses to my own questions, and to the questions of people I work with — whether those questions pertain to their personal, social, professional, or business lives — are made up in the moment through Being Present, Paying Attention, Listening Deeply, and Speaking Truthfully. In my own life, I then Act Creatively, which is what you will have to do. The more you access your own inner knowing, the more you will be amazed and astonished at what you can know.

… and in using these principles Robert believes you will “… bless yourself with your own inner clarity, wisdom, and strength …”

All italicized text, above & below, is excerpted from Robert’s book and is published here with his permission.

Before jumping into the sample question and answer it is worthwhile to state Robert’s key “requirement” for the questions : sincere, personal, and specific … and in his own words – from the introduction of this PART THREE:

Sincere: if you don’t care, why should I? … If you don’t bring some heat and hunger to your questions, why should I bother to respond? … If a question isn’t sincere, nothing will happen. Nothing worthwhile, that is.

Personal: if a question does not pertain to you and your life, it will have no value, no consequence, no force to make any difference. A question properly posed, in personal terms, can in and of itself transform one’s life. … You’ve got to have some skin in the game. Your question has to count for something more than adding to a research library of useless information. …

Specific: it’s got to be precise and relate to an actual, current, and identifiable situation or thing. Life is not a philosophy or an abstraction.

… And he further underscores the importance of authentic living by stating in the introduction :

I have maintained throughout this book that in order to live an authentic life, we have to be responsible for generating the content of that life from within.

rabbin living from within

I’m not speaking of skill-based knowledge, but of self- knowledge. Our authentic life is our truthful response to Who am I? and How shall I live? You’ve got to find out for yourself. I found out for myself, and I continue to find out, by using The 5 Principles of Authentic Living. This is the skill I use and this is the skill set I offer in this book.

{re his answers} “… let the principles themselves be the commanding centerpieces on an otherwise bare table. I invite you to then fully set the table, so it becomes and remains yours, by using the five principles. I have also, as elsewhere, chosen to reprint a few sound bites as a part of my response. I like to think that each sound bite has meaning, but no substantive content. They all come from and point to inner silence. It’s from that silence that I found the five principles, and it’s towards that silence that they point.

Robert, exquisitely, captures the essence of his 5 principles through a quote from Jean Klein: “When you really see that what you are looking for is yourself, and when you find, after many years of looking down every path, trying all systems, all techniques, that you are what you are looking for, it is a tremendous revelation. Because when you really see it, you see that all these ways and experiences and techniques are only objects. You can find them but you can never find the subject, because the subject can never be objectified. You clearly understand that there is nowhere to go. This is a revolution in your life.”

So, … with that context, here is the Question re Anger and Robert’s Response …

Question

I’m so angry at my ex I don’t know what to do. I feel like she used and manipulated me, and when she got what she wanted from me she just walked away. What do I have to do to get past this anger?

anger

Robert’s Response

For many years, I was quietly angry at one of my best friends, but not at anything he did to me. I was angry at how he lived his life, thinking he should make decisions I wanted him to make. I relentlessly, if quietly, judged and condemned what I perceived as his motives. I just couldn’t believe some of his decisions and choices. When I began practicing Be Present, I could begin to look at the source of my judgment and condemnation. It turned out that I was doing the same thing in my own life, but hadn’t owned it. It was much easier to judge my friend than to see myself. It would be worth a few minutes of your time to review your own actions in the relationship to see if you might have been using and manipulating her to get what you wanted.

I used to experience anger quite often. I didn’t always express it, however. I burned on the inside with it. When I did express my anger, I noticed that I would become unconscious, as in not present, and there was always a toxic residue from my speaking. I didn’t like either the inner burning or the outer harm that my anger produced. One day, I realized I better find out what anger actually was. It struck me that the word itself, the label “anger,” might be hiding some other realities. So, instead of speaking from my anger, I decided to look at my anger. With anger as the focus of inquiry, I used the first three principles: Be Present, Pay Attention, Listen Deeply.

From this place of looking at, not from, my anger, I began to see that what I was calling anger, whether expressed or not, was always connected to my not having said something I wanted to say. Finally, I came up with “suppressed prior expression” as a definition for anger. In other words, I noticed that my anger flared up when I was expressing something now that belonged to a prior place and time. In doing so, I would become unconscious, as if time traveling back to the time I suppressed something I wanted to say. My expressions of anger would always leave some toxic or harmful residue on myself and whoever I was speaking with, like a volcanic ash.

rabbin anger toxic residue volcanic

When we suppress something we want to say, when we don’t communicate honestly in real time, we build up a toxic charge such that when it finally comes out, and it will, then all hell breaks loose. It’s never appropriate and almost always hurtful, because anger has nothing to do with what’s happening. It has everything to do with what did happen — maybe hours, maybe years, before. Being angry, in my terms, ripped at the reality of the moment, kept me from being present and connected, and prevented me from using basic communication principles to be effective. When I express myself honestly and in real time, I never experience anger.

It became obvious: in order to be free from anger, I’d have to tell the truth now, I’d have to start speaking up and expressing myself right here, right now. And so I did. And so I do. If we don’t, we’ll have quite a price to pay. As long as I am fully expressing myself, saying in real time what I want to say, I never get angry, according to my definition.

So, how do you get past the anger you have towards your ex? First, let’s Be Present with the anger, let’s have the anger and not let the anger have us. What do you notice? What is behind the label anger? Are there things you wanted to say in the past, but didn’t? Is your anger really feelings of abandonment, loss, betrayal? Those would all be quite valid emotions, but they are different from anger. Do you need to speak with your ex and tell her how you feel? I’m certain you can sort this out by Being Present, Paying Attention, Listening Deeply, and Speaking Truthfully.

Anger vs “Big Energy”

While I’m on this topic of anger, I’d like to share with you, and other readers, an important distinction that I make between “anger” and what I call “big energy.”

During my years of intense spiritual discipline and study, I had picked up the idea that “spiritual” people never get angry. They are supposed to be kind and compassionate and loving. With this behavioral template in mind, I would always suppress any expression that seemed to contradict being loving and kind. In so doing, I was actually seeding the field of my anger! What I realized is that I needed to dissolve my definition of spiritual and the corresponding rigid behavioral template of a kind, loving, compassionate person I had developed, in order to allow for a broader range of self- expression, one which would allow me to be more effective in my life and work. As I was deconstructing and dissolving the definition of spiritual, I came up with another word to describe what might look like anger, but wasn’t. I came up with “big energy.”

rabbin big energy

Let me give you an example.

Years ago, I was managing a large three-day corporate retreat, with more than 450 people attending. One night, I had arranged for an after dinner performance by a well-known singer. During dinner, this performer’s road manager said to my assistants that he wanted us to take down two huge banners that were partially covering the speakers. He said it would interfere with the sound. Well, it had taken a team of people an entire day to put those banners up, and I wasn’t about to take them down. I told my assistants to tell him that. Moments later, they came back to where I was eating dinner and said the road manager was threatening to cancel the performance if we didn’t take the banners down.

I got up from my table and went with my assistants to speak to the road manager. The performance was scheduled to begin in about 30 minutes. I didn’t have a lot of time to settle the matter. As it happened, the publicist of my first book, The Guillotine of Silence, was at the retreat as my guest, and he followed me. My publicist knew me as a meditation teacher and the author of a very “spiritual” book.

My team of assistants, my publicist, and I found the road manager. I introduced myself as the manager of the retreat, and acknowledged his concerns. I told him that we weren’t going to take the banners down, and that I expected the singer to perform as agreed. He pushed back and said that he was canceling the show.

I suppose there were any number of responses I could have made. But with time of the essence, I decided on a big energy response. I put my face about three inches from the road manager’s face. I looked him dead in the eyes, and I blasted something like, “We are not taking down the banners. Your singer will perform. If you say one more word, I will kick your bony white ass all the way back to England. That is final.” What I said aside, what carried the message and what turned the tide in my favor was my big, huge, fierce energy. How I said what I said left no room for further discussion.

The road manager relented. I thanked him warmly and said how much we were all looking forward to the performance. I hugged him, and then I peacefully walked back to my table to finish my dinner, accompanied by my publicist, who incidentally is a very tall and burly man. For me, the incident was over and there was no residue of the conversation. But my publicist was stunned. He couldn’t believe what he had just seen. He said, “Who are you? I’ve never seen you like that. I’ve never seen anything like that. You were so angry. I thought you were this spiritual person, a meditation teacher. What happened?”

I said, “I’m not running a meditation class. I’m running a corporate retreat. I am in charge. I know what I want. I didn’t have time for a long chat with the guy. I needed him to get on with it. I wasn’t angry at all.” I felt very present in my speaking, forceful though it was, and very connected to myself and the road manager. I did not time travel. I was not violent or hateful. After the concert, the road manager came up to me to apologize for having been so uncooperative!

We are very big creatures, aren’t we? We have an enormous palette of colors with which to paint our lives. We shouldn’t be afraid of those many colors. Of course, we always want to be compassionate, kind, and loving towards others. We always want to be skillful communicators and respectful of others. We also want to be compassionate, kind, loving and respectful towards our own self.

If I express myself honestly in real time as skillfully as I can, while being unafraid of big energy, I simply never get angry.

— — — — —

All italicized text including the Galway KInnell and Jean Klein quotes are from Robert Rabbin’s book:The 5 Principles of Authentic Living: How to Live an Authentic Life in 10 Words.
Images: 1 and featured) Sprout by skeeze,  2) Psyche by Gellinger, 3) Lake Reflection by bones64, 4) Photo by Julien Millet on Unsplash, 5) Mt Fuji Sun by KanenoriCCO Public Domain.
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